Wrestling is a category of sport wherein two opponents engage in hand-to-hand combat without weapons (often categorized as martial arts). It is one of the oldest types of sport; there are wall-paintings more than 15000 years old depicting people wrestling.
There are almost as many wrestling styles as there are nations. Some samples are sumo in Japan and yagli gures (oiled wrestling) in Turkey. In the example of oiled wrestling, the wrestlers wear tight short leather trousers and cover themselves with diluted olive oil.
There are two internationally recognized wrestling styles performed in the Olympic Games under the supervision of FILA (Federation Internationale de Lutte Amateur or International Amateur Wrestling Federation): Freestyle and Greco-Roman. Freestyle is possibly derived from the English Lancashire style. A similar style, commonly called Folkstyle, is practiced in secondary schools and colleges in the United States.
Freestyle and Greco-Roman differ in what holds are permitted; in Greco-Roman style, the wrestlers are permitted to hold only above the waist. In both Greco-Roman and Freestyle, points can be scored the following ways:
- Takedowns: Gaining control over your opponent from a neutral position.
- Reversals: Gaining control over your opponent from a defensive position.
- Escapes: Escaping your opponents' control.
- Exposure: Exposing your opponent's back to the mat.
A match can be won in the following ways:
- Win by Fall: A fall, also known as a pin, occurs when one wrestler holds both his opponents' shoulders on the mat simultaneously.
- Win by Technical Fall: If one wrestler gains a ten-point lead over his opponent at any point, the match is declared over and he is the winner.
- Win by Decision: If neither wrestler achieves a Fall or Technical Fall, the wrestler who has gained more points during the match is declared the winner. If the wrestlers have gained the same number of points, a panel of judges decides the winner based on aggressiveness and effectiveness.
In some countries, people engage in simulated wrestling matches as performance. See professional wrestling.